Northampton theatre airs new musical as free videos

Published: 6 February 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Zooming in on rehearsals: On Hostile Ground

Northampton’s Royal and Derngate is to release a new musical, On Hostile Ground, inspired by the stories of people “affected by the government’s hostile environment policy”, in a series of free videos.

On Hostile Ground, by Darren Clark (lyrics), Juliet Gilkes Romero (book), Michael Henry (music and orchestrations) and Charlotte Westenra (co-creator and director), was due to be featured at BEAM 2020, a festival of new musical theatre which was cancelled because of COVID-19.

With opportunities for live performance curtailed by the pandemic, the writers developed the work into 14 music videos and straight-to-camera monologues filmed at home by the actors.

On Hostile Ground is set in 2013 in a Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister David Cameron summons department heads of his coalition government and tasks them with finding policies to make life in the UK unbearable for illegal immigrants—a sure-fire plan to deliver his election promise of reducing net migration.

The first three videos will be available on Tuesday 16 February. On that evening, there will also be the first of a series of free, online question-and-answer sessions about the hostile ground policy and creation of the musical.

The panel for the first, The Hostile Environment: Impact and Legacy, will involve Amelia Gentleman, journalist and author of The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment, Jun Pang, policy and campaigns officer, Liberty, social commentator, cultural historian and Windrush justice campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE and journalist and news presenter Juliette Foster.

Further information is available at the Royal and Derngate web site where free tickets for the question-and-answer sessions can also be booked.